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Starbucks Union Leader Says Company Forced Her Out

A Starbucks employee in Buffalo who led the coffee chain’s union campaign for the past year has accused the company of forcing her to leave in retaliation for her organizational efforts.

The employee, Jaz Brisack, is the subject of an unfair labor suit filed by the Workers United union on Tuesday night. The charge was that Starbucks had discriminated against Ms. Brisack’s scheduling and availability policies, effectively separating her from the company.

Ms. Brisack, who is highly regarded among Starbucks employees because she is a Rhodes scholar and also works as an organizer for the union, said in an interview that the company had her requests to change her availability for work in one or two months. turned down. days a week from three.

“For seven months, you and Starbucks have retaliated against me by refusing to honor my availability and leave requests and scheduling me when I am unavailable to work in an attempt to force me to quit,” Ms Brisack wrote in a statement. a letter she gave to her manager on Tuesday. “Starbucks has deliberately made my survival with the company impossible.”

Reggie Borges, a Starbucks spokesperson, said in a statement that the company was trying to balance employee scheduling requests, known as partners, with business needs. “No partner is planned differently than other partners, or treated differently, segregated or disciplined, because of their position in or support of the union,” he added.

Mr. Borges said Ms. Brisack’s store is regularly forced to close early due to staffing restrictions.

The National Labor Relations Board has accused the company of firing other employees in similar circumstances, including employees in the same store, according to a complaint the agency filed this spring. Starbucks has denied the allegations and the case is being referred to an administrative judge.

Ms Brisack said she had first tried to reduce her availability in February and then again in May, but the store had asked her to remain available for at least three days. This summer, she started calling out shifts she couldn’t make, she said, but that was unsustainable as it forced more work for her colleagues and hurt morale.

“It’s a worse and worse environment,” Ms. Brisack said. “I cannot be responsible for that. I can’t let Starbucks do that, destroy us from within.”

She handed in her resignation on Tuesday after asking her manager if she would get the next three-shift shift. The manager indicated she would be.

In the letter to her manager, Ms. Brisack said she hoped to return to the company. “I look forward to working at Starbucks again when the NLRB orders my recovery,” she wrote.